When I was a kid my dad would carry me around on his shoulders, literally and figuratively. In a literal sense I can remember sitting on his shoulders and seeing the world from a perspective that my short legs denied me. I was always amazed at what I could see. Perspective was everything. In a figurative sense he carried me in my spiritual life. My dad had a third-grade education and could never aspire to a degree in theology- but it was his dream so he read everything he could get his hands on. I of course had no idea of this as a child, but boy did, I benefit from it. I remember sitting in the car on long drives and asking all sorts of questions about God and our faith. His answers helped to shape my faith and my thirst for God. He once told me that my questions made him read more since he always wanted to be prepared.
Funny how God works. I would never have guessed that all the effort my dad put into his own spiritual growth would propel me forward in mine. But God is like that. What I start for myself, He finds a use for in others. My siblings and I still call my dad who is 92 to ask him questions when we need direction. It’s like standing on his shoulders allows us to see over the obstacles and hurdles of life and see the world through this new perspective. A perspective always tinged with the love and grace of God.
Did I ever tell you that I am the youngest of 9? Yes, your eyes do not deceive you 9. Raising 9 kids is not the easiest thing in the world- I have 4 kids and think I am in line for canonization, and I am not even dead yet. Raising 9 kids, in a country where you don’t understand the language and can’t afford the dreams you have for your kids, well that is an uphill battle. How did he do it?
Prayer. prayer and you guessed it more prayer. My dad woke up every morning before work and prayed, and at night he made sure we all prayed the rosary together, before bed I could hear him praying again and I’m sure that there were a few more prayers snuck in between as well. I remember that when he started his own company and set his own hours, his workday started after daily Mass. After seeing this go on for years, I asked him why? If it was a routine he couldn’t let go of, or if there was a purpose to all of it. His answer was that when you find the love of your life, you strive to spend every moment you can with them. Jesus was that faithful friend who He visited every day. He told me that at his most stressful moments he was sure Jesus would return the visit and bring him the peace he needed.
In a way we all stand on the shoulders of giants, people who in small or big ways have helped us to see the truth and helped to set us on the right path. We hopefully have been the shoulders others have stood on to get a glimpse of the love and peace that await them when they walk with God. My favorite giant is the bible. The living word of God is the solid foundation we can stand on when our world is shifting like sand beneath out feet.
Here’s to all the shoulders we have stood on, may they be blessed in seeing the heights they have helped us achieve.